Retro Decathlon 2012: Run, Jump, and Throw with us! (universal) from Cinemax Games takes the most grueling track and field competition around and turned it into the most grueling thumb-sport competition in the App Store. With simple controls and fun record-chasing gameplay, there’s a lot inside the game’s simple-looking package.
Each of the ten events of the decathlon are available, from the 100 meter dash to the javelin throw. In each event, players will have to accurately complete a range of tapping and swiping motions on the bottom half of the screen. There’s an element of timing and strategy to each of the events, and each one features a different mix of touching and dragging over labeled icons.
It’s one of those easy-to-grasp, hard-to-master game concepts that keeps players coming back for more, either in the ten-round main event, or in practice mode, where players can work on their form and develop their skills. Each athlete begins the game with low dexterity, strength, and stamina, which can be improved by practicing and competing in the different events, until complete domination of the leaderboards is completed.
The game is a ton of fun to play, and definitely will inspire multiple playthroughs to continue beating personal records, global leaderboard records – in game, not through Game Center unfortunately – and even the different world records for each event, which are the real records, but without the names of the famous athletes attached.
Some might be turned off by the game’s simple graphical package, and its use of half the screen for its controls, but I think it works well, not necessarily a ‘retro’ experience, but one that recreates the combination of dated graphics and addictive, perfectionist gameplay those kinds of titles are known for. If anything, the game’s lame sound effects feel more retro than the experience itself, which feels like it was developed with the touch screen specifically in mind.
Retro Decathlon 2012 is a terrific virtual recreation of the decathlon experience, an addicting test of reflexes and precision for the athletes hiding in our thumbs to enjoy competing in.